Diwali is a cultural, seasonal, religious holiday originating in India. It is celebrated by Indians worldwide as well as various religious groups (Hindu, Sikh, Jain).
When is it celebrated?
Diwali falls between October and November, but the exact date changes each year, as it is marked by the Hindu lunar calendar. The festival lasts five days in total, with the Festival of Lights falling on the third day of celebrations.
This year Diwali falls on November 7, 2018.
People light Diyas for soldiers in Jabalpur, India ǀ source
Diwali celebrations in Times Square, New York ǀ source
Streets are filled with light for Diwali celebrations in Leicester, England, one of the largest Diwali festivals outside of India ǀ source
Diwali Fireworks at the Golden Temple in India ǀ source
Diwali in Sri Lanka | source
Where is it celebrated?
Indians make up one of the largest populations of the world - even outside of India (approximately 422 million) and Hinduism is the 3rd largest religion in the world (1,100 million - 15% of the world's population). Therefore, it is not surprising that Diwali is widely celebrated in many countries outside of Asia, including the following countries.
United States of America
Mainstream USA has begun celebrating this colorful Indian holiday. In 2017, Disneyland and Times Square had massive celebrations in addition to city-sponsored festivities in Chicago, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Antonio (to name a few).
The largest Diwali celebration outside of India takes place in Leicester, England’s Golden Mile section. Additionally, Prince Charles has attended Diwali celebrations at some of the UK’s prominent Hindu temples, and Diwali has been celebrated every year at 10 Downing Street since 2009.
Diwali is listed as one of the top times to visit this Caribbean nation.
With nearly half a million Indians living in Australia, celebrations in Sydney and Melbourne have grown exponentially the past few years. Federation Square in Melbourne hosts the largest celebration in Australia.
Held in the Bramalea City Center for three days, the Diwali Fest in Brampton is the biggest of its kind in Canada.
How is Diwali celebrated?
Diwali celebrations signify new beginnings, good over evil, and lightness over darkness. Because of this, the Festival centers around lights: fireworks, candles, oil lamps on housetops, etc. Families and friends gather together in their most fabulous clothing for feasts, gifts, prayer and celebration.
An important icon of Diwali is the Diya (candle), which is featured on the new Diwali Qualatex Microfoil. Additionally, many people decorate their houses with colorful Rangoli patterns created on the floor using colored rice or powder.